30 civilians killed, wounded in Syria blast

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Damascus, Jan 16 (IANS) At least 30 civilians were either killed or wounded by a blast that rocked Kurdish-controlled Syrian city of Manbij during a US patrol on Wednesday, the media reported.

The blast took place while the US patrol was passing the centre of the city located in the northeast of Aleppo province, Xinhua news agency reported. No further details were given on the fate of the US patrol.

Manbij is controlled by the Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council and US forces usually patrol the city after growing tension between the Turkey-backed rebels around Manbij and the Kurdish-led militia inside the city.

The Syrian Army recently deployed units in the countryside of Manbij amid ongoing talks for entering the city and assuming control to strip Turkey of the pretext to attack the city.

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Additionally, a political leader of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) rejected the idea of imposing a security zone in northern Syria by Turkey, the Saudi-funded Al Arabiya TV reported.

The SDC is the political wing of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces militia, which is backed by the US and controls areas in northeastern Syria.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said earlier that he agreed with US President Donald Trump to impose the 32-km security zone along the Syrian border.

The Kurdish groups have found themselves trapped in the middle since late December when Trump said he decided to withdraw American troops from Syria.

Following that development, the Kurdish militia started leaning towards the Syrian government to reach a settlement of the situation in the Kurdish-controlled areas and to avert the planned Turkish campaign targeting them.

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However, no concrete results surfaced except for the fact that the Syrian Army recently deployed its troops in the countryside of Manbij city and was now on the frontline between the Turkey-backed rebels and the Kurdish-led militia.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry on Tuesday lashed out at Erdogan over his remarks about the security zone in northern Syria. It said that the Turkish leader’s remarks and actions indicated that his country “only deals with the language of occupation and aggression”, adding that his actions “run against the simplest principles and charter of the UN”.

–IANS

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